Sorry kids. Games don’t teach kids to code. No they don’t.
Minecraft is an interesting take on the traditional first-person game, where players use objects or ‘blocks’ to create the world around them. While allowing players to create their own ‘modifications’ (or ‘mods’) it is just a game with little educational value. We see parents organizing Minecraft servers – their time and money would be better spent teaching their kids a real language like HTML or Python.
One of the main challenges in teaching kids how to learn coding is to keep them engaged and provide them with an incentive to pick up from their previous failures and keep trying. While kids quickly adapt to new stimuli, they rarely take steps towards mastering a skill. Minecraft is a win here. It’s lots of fun.
Where it falls very short – and we mean very – is in teaching the core computer science concepts. These concepts are applicable to all programming languages and are the foundations of writing clean code. Building a secret door in Minecraft doesn’t mean you actually know how to build a secret door. You have probably used the pre-templated code. You probably didn’t understand the basic concepts employed.
Microsoft recognizes that Minecraft has limited educational value. The launch of the Minecraft drag and drop coding platform, where visual blocks represent important computer programming functions such as If, and Then statements is a testament to this fact.
Sorry kids. Games don’t teach kids to code. If it was that easy then everyone would be a pro.